I am replacing an old light that was above my sink and the box was so brittle it broke and I could not mount the new light. I removed the "new work" box and the drywall around it crumbled. Now the hole is too large for a new work box. Any ways to fix this? Really hoping I do not have to have someone come and repair a large section of drywall in my ceiling. Thank you

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  • Can you get us a close-up? Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 3:31
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Is there a good mounting point for the replacement box? (That close-up @ThreePhaseEel asked for would be useful, too.) Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 10:50
  • Why not just repair the section of drywall yourself? Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 19:33

4 Answers 4


Likely too late to be of use to OP, but for others who may come looking.

  1. Look what's up there? Lath? Joists?
  2. Cut a nice rectangular wallboard patch larger than the hole. Trace its outline on the ceiling.
  3. Remove plaster within the outline so patch can fit in snugly. Ensure that opening is wide enough to access a joist to which box can now be affixed.
  4. Install box.
  5. Cut opening in patch to allow sufficient access into box.
  6. Attach patch - now a rectangular frame - to ceiling structure.
  7. Apply joint compound and finish

I'm in the midst of a repair where I'm stripping plaster off lath and will then glue and screw my patch in place. I can update once I'm done.

  • Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 2:40

That light fixture was too close to the wall anyway. Patch the old hole with a self-sticking drywall patch, then mount a new box to the joist about 8" further away from the wall. There are boxes that can be screwed right into the joist from below the ceiling (look for Madison Electric Products Fan and Fixture 1-Gang Gray Polycarbonate New Work/Old Work Standard Ceiling Fan Ceiling Electrical Box).

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 20:08

It looks like there's a joist running alongside the hole, as I would expect. Your box should be mounted to that and not really have anything to do with the drywall. Mix a little mud up, probably a thicker consistency for the ceiling, and mash it around the edges to fill in the gaps after the box is installed.
And honestly, your new light is likely to cover up the edges of that hole anyway so I wouldn't even bother patching it.


They make a octagon box ,that has a bracket to mount to the box. Also code states ,only a 1/8 gap may only be around box . Fix the drywall around box, and look for a light with a bigger mounting base. The base will help cover the repair ,if it does not blend in well

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